If you are seeking a job in the military or law enforcement professions, you will likely see an entrance exam that requires you to score well in sit-ups, curl-ups, or crunches. All are abdominal exercises with different hand placement that test core strength and endurance and can be a challenging exercise to improve if you are not getting your repetitions in each week. Here is an email from someone who has improved in pushups and pullups but needs help with the last PT element of the Air Force PAST test for PJ and CCT:
"Stew, I have used your pullup and pushup push plans and actually increased my pushups from 50 to 88 and my pullups from 12 to 20 in just two weeks. Thanks! I have neglected my sit-ups however (62 in 2 min); and need some ideas on the quickest way to increase my reps for the AF PJ two minute PAST test for situps. Do you have a "Situp Push Plan" like your pull / push plans? I am trying to get my situps to 85–100 for the PAST."
Yes, I have been working on a Situp Overload Plan to help create a better foundation to increase situps by 50–75% in just 14 days. It is a little different than the Pullup / Pushup Plan where you take your current maximum and multiply by five for 10 straight days – add in three rest days and test on day 14 for recovery from the overload and max out into a new level of scoring.
The new Situp Push Program is designed like this:
NOTE – If your situp test is only 1 minute, the process is the same BUT your pace can be faster than in the 2 minutes test.
* Note if you are having trouble keeping the goal pace for 30 seconds, try it for 15 seconds and shoot for quick timed sets of 10–12 repetitions for 15 seconds. The first 15–20 seconds of a 2 minute situp test is where people start off too fast, so it is a good idea to practice the start of the test regularly.
Where most people go wrong on two minute timed situps tests is that they start off too fast in the first 30 seconds and usually cannot match their reps in the next 1:30. So, if your goal is 80–100 situps in 2 minutes, you need a pace of 20–25 in 30 seconds, 40–50 situps in 1 minute and 60–75 situps in 1:30, and 80–100 in 2 minutes. This takes practice at not just mastering the goal pace, but building up your endurance in order to maintain the pace for longer than you previously could.
So in a nutshell, you will get better at situp tests by taking more situp tests and increasing your endurance by increasing your situp volume BUT at your goal pace for situps. In the future, once you master the 100 reps in 2 minute pace, you can do more situp sets every other day but focus on 1 situp per second to help you maintain a pace of 100–120 situps in 2 minutes.
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.